There's one of these god and country rallies tomorrow in Bethlehem Community Park. I might go. The Chrisagii are scheduled to perform from 2-2:30pm. And of course there will be a bunch of speakers, mostly pastors and "community activists." I suspect it will be an emphatically diminutive version of the recent Beck/Palin rally in DC. Incidentally, my deepest apologies if you find offensive the lowercase "g" when referencing the term "god." I just think "god" is essentially the same as "ghost" or "deity" - you wouldn't capitalize those words... would you?
Anyway, I have a strong hunch that if I attend tomorrow, I will continually hear the following comment - "The United States is the greatest country in the world. God Bless you and god bless America" This always seems to be a no-brainer, crowd-pleaser. Nothing livens up a throng of self described patriots than this never-ending refrain. But it got me to thinking just how many times you hear the following statement - "We are the greatest country in the world."
I'm silently thinking... what if we aren't the greatest country in the world? Kind of reminds me those square ballcaps that say "#1 Dad" or a t-shirt that reads "World's Greatest Grandma." These ratings just seem kind of subjective. Isn't there a posted article in the Woodsdale DeFelice Pizza shop that describes how they won a contest for "the greatest pizza in the world?" Just who officiates and monitors these contests? Anyway, I digress. But the question is an interesting one. Why do people feel this necessity to define the U.S. as the absolute best. Seriously... there are roughly 195 countries on the planet earth (depending on how you define the word country). Isn't it just a tad naive or perhaps arrogant to say we're the best? When's the last time you heard Scotland claiming superiority over Denmark or Nigeria asserting their greatness over Cameroon. I understand that the tea partiers like to engage in a lot of hyperbole and statements of grandiosity to convey their pre-programmed reference points, but seriously... It just got me to thinking about some unusual ways that the U.S. can indubitably claim superiority. And without further adieu, here they are...
1) We seem to excel at razing large stadiums and constructing new ones seemingly adjacent to where the old one was located. Many reasons are given. The old one didn't have enough luxury boxes or an insufficient number of restrooms. The sight lines were poor, the concession stands weren't plentiful enough. There aren't enough flat screens. There can never be enough flat screen tv's in a stadium. I came to the venue to see the live event take place, but I still need to see the broadcast as well. Hell, the damn stadium just isn't maximizing revenue. We desperately need to build a new one. The franchise is threatening to leave town if we don't capitulate. Anyway, my point - I think it's safe to say that we're #1 at tearing down perfectly functioning structures and building brand new ones in their place. Also something to note, some of these mammoth stadiums with price tags in the billion dollar range are only used about 10 times per year (about 3% of the year). That's 8 football games and a couple of country superstar mega-concerts. And what becomes of the old stadium? Time and time again you can sum it up with one word - parking.
2) Which leads me another area where the U.S. gets a #1 ranking. And that's parking revenue. No other country has such a disdain and contempt for public transportation. I realize that bigger cities use their buses, but have you ever seen more than 4 people on a Wheeling bus. Nobody rides the damn things. I was at the Pitt/Miami game last night and couldn't help but notice all the emphasis on parking. It's a viable option to park a few streets down on the North Side for free, but everyone seems to require their own personal spot. And these spots ranged from $20 to $40. And the passes on the gold lot are $50. It seems that we are world leader in willingness to pay "extreme parking fees." Why? Well, the answer is obvious. It's because we're the greatest. And here's a good trivia question > Which U.S. airport has the highest hourly rate for short term parking? The answer is Philadelphia International Airport at $38/hour. And that was about 10 years ago. It's probably some other airport these days. I do not know. I just found that kind of amusing.
3) How about pornography? I don't have the stats but I can say without even the slightest hint of doubt that we lead the world in the production, sale and distribution of pornography. And with the advent of high-def, as well as bizarre sexual niches and unusual proclivities, the world of porn has never seen so much room for innovation. Rest assured, the United States is #1 and will continue to top the list.
4) How about the sale of weapons? We are hands down the leading supplier of weapons worldwide. And we don't like other countries usurping our rightful place. Think about Saddam. He had the audacity to buy weapons from the French. Well France got what they deserved. Does anyone recall the emergence of "freedom fries" in 2002? Fuck the French! Those arrogant bastards. They don't support our liberation of Iraq. Nobody seemed to care that France lent us a hand in the revolutionary war. I always thought it was bizarre that everybody jumped on the "I hate France" public relations bandwagon back in the early Bush years. What's wrong with people asking the simple question, "Why would France want to actively participate in an invasion and prolonged occupation of Iraq?" It' like asking the question, why wouldn't Thailand be interested in conquering Syria? And what's really intriguing about our penchant for selling weapons - we always seem to arm both sides of a conflict. When arming them both is unrealistic, we sometimes choose to invade and occupy. This way we become the only arms dealer in town. Either way, the U.S. is numero uno when it comes to selling weapons.
5) We lead the world in consumption of water. China and India both have over a billion residents. The U.S. has about 300 million, but we totally dominate in the consumption of fresh water. And we use it in all kinds of ways - you gotta love those water driven amusement parks. Our nation also likes to spray each other with water, hence the emergence of the Super Soaker. If you don't want to consume the water, how about drenching someone with it? And it's critical that even during water shortages, we maintain the upkeep and presentation of golf courses in the dry desert climates of Nevada and Arizona. I watched a 60 Minutes clip about this man from Somalia who had immigrated to Atlanta, Georgia. He told the interviewer that he had a lot of trouble comprehending how we use water. "What do you mean?" inquired the host. "Well, in Somalia the women wake up before dawn and walk an hour each way to obtain the days supply of fresh water. Here in downtown Atlanta, you have this mammoth fountain that spews forth thousands of gallons of water for no reason whatsoever." I thought that was fascinating. Not only do we lead the world in water consumption, but we also seem to take delight in using it for exclusively aesthetic purposes. Once again, we blow all other countries "out of the water." Way to go.
6) I'm sad to say that we relinquished our #1 ranking in childhood obesity this year. We got knocked down a peg to the number 2 spot. Oddly enough, Australia is now #1. I wouldn't have thought that. Technically they might be #1, but I think we're still at the top when it comes to a phenomenon I like to refer to as "obese people that suffer from malnourishment." These people (mostly from the deep South) have plentiful access to nutritious food, fresh fruits and vegetables, but they voluntarily choose the family size bag of Cheetos and mega-size Cookie Crunch cereal every time.
7) We also lead the world in missionaries. The U.S. isn't content to just embrace freedom of religion. We seem desperate to promote it. These humans of lesser intelligence... these poor humans just don't know any better. We need to show them the way to eternal salvation through Jesus Christ (his is a personal name, so I'll reluctantly use caps). I'd think that most sane individuals would object to going deep into disease ravaged, war torn regions in central Africa to spread the gospel. That supposition would be incorrect. The U.S. will always be #1 in telling people how to pray. And why not? When it comes to specific religious dogma, the correct choice is so blatantly obvious. Isn't it?
8) How about junk mail? Another one where I don't have the stats, but I'd bet my life on it (well, maybe not my life... perhaps the life of my neighbor Fuckface - and this one I will capitalize). And guess what? Fuckface just put his house up for sale. Of course he wants an absurd amount of money, but if anyone wants to fulfill their lifelong dream of saying, "Someone or something called "sonofsaf" is my neighbor," feel free to look into it. Oddly enough, the listing agent is Gil White. I suspect it's some kind of "erotic payback" for his mom's car in the pool incident. Again I digress, but it's safe to say that the U.S. is tops in the junk mail biz.
Well, I was going to do 10, but my reserve battery warning just came on. Regardless, here's my point. You always hear that USA chant but you never hear much about the specific details. So I just wanted to offer up a few ways where the USA is, without a doubt, a superior country. And that's out of 200 or so countries on the planet. Just something to think about.